On #Misanthropocene


Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr have published a long, strange poem called #Misanthropocene. It’s a baroque attempt to sketch out the edges, limits, interior of the contemporary condition in of the “west.” It feels a lot like a precursor to something like Prophet if that series was all about trying to explain what it’s like to live inside of one of those living, organic brain ships.

It rides a beautiful line between CrimethInc-style romantic resistance to capitalism and an ironic-sincere “fuck you, fuck this, fuck that” mentality that seems to be the root of so much cynical thinking in the age of the world target and also most Eminem tracks.

I love the flesh of the poemargument–not the trappings, not the two poles, but what gets trapped in between. They call it “west melancholy,” a feeling where you know that things are absolutely fucked but you’re unable to do anything about it.

In psychoanalysis, melancholy is when closure is prevented. Something happens, but the object recedes beyond reconciliation; you have a fight with someone, they die, you can never make it right. That’s melancholy.

And so “west melancholy,” the idea that the ability to make it right can never return, seems to permeate everything. It introduces cynicism. It drives you into action, do anything, you can’t do anything.

Anyway, I liked the thing.

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